Official: Senior Al Qaeda Commander Killed in Pakistan

Senior Al Qaeda commander Abu Saeed al-Masri has been killed in recent clashes with Pakistani forces in a Pakistani region near the Afghan border, a security official told Reuters on Tuesday.

"He was believed to be among the top leadership of Al Qaeda," the senior security official told the news agency on condition of anonymity.

Al-Masri, which means Egyptian, was the senior most Al Qaeda operative to have been killed in Pakistan's tribal belt since the death of his compatriot, Abu Khabab al-Masri, an Al Qaeda chemical and biological weapons expert, last month.

Pakistani television identified the man as Mustafa Abu al-Yazid and said he was also known as Abu Saeed al-Masri.

Al-Masri was reportedly the commander of Al Qaeda's Afghanistan operations, and was described by the September 11 Commission as the network's "chief financial manager."

He served time in jail with Al Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri after the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981, Reuters reported.

Since the deaths of other senior Al Qaeda figures beginning in 2001, al-Masri has moved up the chain to become Al Qaeda's third most senior figure.

A former security chief of Pakistan's northwestern ethnic Pastun tribal areas, told Reuters that the death of al-Masri, aka. Yazid, would have an impact on insurgencies in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"It's one more important person gone. It will have an impact," Mahmood Shah told Reuters.

"Al Qaeda is the main machine behind the insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Taliban, the Chechens and the Uzbeks, are used as foot soldiers as cannon fodder but the actual machine is Al Qaeda."

Click here to read the full Reuters report.